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Missing Person Enquiry - Arrest Announced

24 Jun 2008 Tasman

Location of incident: Westport

Incident type: Missing Person Enquiry - Arrest Announced

Missing Persons Inquiry - Jae Hyeon Kim

Tuesday 24 June 08 1330 hours: Arrest Announced Police engaged on the inquiry into missing Korean backpacker Jae Hyeon KIM have today arrested a man in connection with his murder. Inquiry Head, Detective Inspector John Winter, said that Operation JERICHO had been launched to achieve a break-in to the wall of silence that confronted police.

That operation had paid dividends and police were now exploiting the initial success. A 28 year old Nelson fisherman will appear in the Nelson District Court this afternoon, and a 31year old former Westport man is assisting police with their enquiries. Other persons are still being sought for interview at present, and additional charges may be laid.

Any initial remands would be to the Westport District Court on Thursday 26 June. Detective Inspector Winter said that he had confirmed the death of Mr Kim to the Korean Consulate, who had advised the family in Pusan. The date of death was still unclear, but was likely to be between the 29th September and the 22nd October 2003. It was likely that a family member would travel to New Zealand in due course, but not immediately.

Although the body had not been located, police would not rule out that it may yet be recovered. The initiative for that now lay with other people, he said. Further searches would be considered, but none were planned at this stage. Operation JERICHO involved 10 staff and co-ordinated activity in a number of locations around the country. The team in Westport would remain in place to deal with follow-up enquiries and the court appearances this week. A formal media conference will be held at the Westport Police Station at 5pm this evening. Please note, I will not take any media calls prior to that time.


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